Trying to Find Hope After Your Partner Leaves – 2

I’ve made hope the centerpiece of this pair of posts because there’s such a powerful need for it after a depressed partner leaves. However unrealistic the hope may be, it’s necessary to take the place of pain and grief.

The problem of a hope born of desperation is the risk of further shocks in the future as the hope is disappointed. But hope is hard to analyze. The need to believe that the partner who’s gone must still feel something, however hidden, seems to me overwhelming. The moment of crisis is a poor time for realistic thinking.

That’s the problem with much of the advice that’s offered online or from friends, however compassionately it’s done. It comes out of rational, realistic thinking by someone who’s not in the midst of the storm.

On the one hand, that’s its value, a thoughtful perspective from someone you trust. On the other, the urgent need is for someone who will listen without telling you what you should be doing – someone who can respond to your feelings with compassion.

That balance between compassion and reason is also what you need when reaching out to a partner who’s breaking away. And it’s the balance you need to keep yourself going.

The suggestions I can make may not be very satisfactory in the immediacy of the loss. I think it helps, if at all possible, to keep them in mind from the outset.

Taking Care of yourself

After your partner leaves, you may pull out all the stops and follow your impulse to reach him – or you may be too overwhelmed to do anything. Whatever your initial reaction, that first wave of feeling is likely all about loss. The focus is on your partner: his feelings, what he must be going through and the support he needs to deal with his depression.

But the crisis is also about your needs. You’re under huge stress, and it could have been building over a long period. You’ve likely been living with depression for some time, even if neither you nor your partner recognized what was going on.

You need support, not just to figure out why he’s taken off and what you can do for him, but to help you deal with what you’re going through. If you don’t, you can go downhill fast into your own depression.

Depression is Contagious

Many therapists, like Michael Yapko, describe depression as contagious, and I think they’re right. A depressed partner can hit you with emotional withdrawal and refusal to talk, or go to the opposite extreme of blame, anger and emotional abuse.

Whatever it’s been like, you’ve taken the brunt of it. Stress sustained over a long period can cause numerous health problems. The hurt, worry, anxiety and anger in the closest relationship you have can readily lead to depression, along with its impact on sleep, appetite and motivation. It also can push you into isolation and hopelessness that can prevent you from getting the help you need.

Just as your partner needs help, so do you.

How to Get Help

The key thing is to find someone who will listen without judgment and help you work on the issues your partner’s depression and leaving have caused. This person could be a friend or religious counselor or therapist. Someone who has been trained to help people sort through such problems would probably be best.

If you can’t identify anyone through your own friends and family, you can consult online directories, like this one or Psych Central’s listing of numerous directories.

Talking to others who have had to face the same crisis is excellent support. You can find in-person and online peer support groups through the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and also try the long-time online forum called Depression Fallout. These are especially valuable because you can find a lot advice that’s already been tried by people in your position.

Is Communication Possible?

This is someone you still love and you’re not going to sit by and do nothing. To a great extent, though, what you can do depends on what your partner lets you do.

Some block out all communication: no meetings, no calls, emails, letters or text messages. Perhaps they’ve moved away so you don’t even have an address. You can only talk to his friends or family to find out how he is or to convey a message for you. But there’s no response at all. That’s a pretty powerful signal of finality, but I’ve heard from many who try to find hope even in the refusal to respond.

Others are willing to talk, but the message is: I have to be alone to deal with depression and can’t be in a close relationship now. Total isolation is the answer while he works on his problems, often without help from anyone.

Some try to maintain the tie by talking frequently and express confusion about the relationship. Some stay in touch only to remind you that they think their problems are all your fault.

There are many other messages depressed partners might offer, but the bottom line is that they’ve cut you out of any active role. Often, they look on leaving as a big part of the answer to depression and never get treatment.

Generally, the behavior you see after they’ve left mirrors closely the way they treated you before taking the drastic step of getting out.

Offering Help

In thinking about how you can help, the key thing to keep in mind is that no one but the depressed partner can take the first steps to deal with illness. And he’ll do it in his own time, if he does it all. You can’t do it for him, but you can offer help and support.

In fact, that may be the only thing you can do, if communication is limited, and you get no response or invitation to do more. But if the door is open, you can offer help by sending information about depression or ideas you’ve found online. You can mention the types of treatment that are available, how to locate therapists, films, short videos and books that might be relevant. You can identify ways of getting help if he has no medical insurance. And you can simply indicate your availability to help whenever he might choose to call on you.

All this can clarify the options he has when he’s ready to make a serious attempt at treatment. You have to trust him to make up his own mind in his own time.

What You’re Really Communicating

It’s hard, though, to be that detached when you do get in touch. Usually, the motive for communicating is not simply to help but to keep the relationship going and keep your hope alive that he’ll return. It’s easy to push too hard so he’ll get rid of the depression that’s keeping you apart.

The message you communicate may come across in a way you don’t intend. He might read it as having to do more with your needs than with his. It may not sound like a disinterested offer, and that makes it hard for him to take your advice. Doing so would seem more like a sign that he was coming back to you, and that’s too sensitive to consider.

Making lots of suggestions about what he should do implies that it’s within his power to take action. However, he may not be able to do much of anything if he’s really going through an episode of major depression. He might just castigate himself all the more for not being able to follow your advice. Even after deciding to get out of his dark room and seek help, he’ll have a long way to go before learning how to cope with the illness and get back to his vital self. Inaction may not be a refusal to help himself but rather a sign of the depth of his depression.

Letting him move at his own pace is essential, but that too is hard when you long so much to restore the relationship or at least be assured that getting back together is a goal he shares. He might not know the answer to that himself.

Your Decision about You

Whatever you try to do or communicate may never have much effect. You may never get a signal that gives you real hope. Just as your partner has to decide about treatment, you’ll have to decide what’s best for you, and you’ll do it your own pace. There are no fixed rules to follow about any of these, just a series of examples of what others have done.

That’s why I emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself by getting the help and support you need. If you can do that, hopefully, you’ll get the guidance you’re looking for.

Some Rights Reserved for the image by mralsultan at Flickr

57 Responses to “Trying to Find Hope After Your Partner Leaves – 2”

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  1. Mary says:

    I have been living in a nightmare for 7 months with my husband. Tomorrow is our 9 year wedding anniversary and I can’t even say happy anniversary to him. It seemed like my husband changed over night 7 and a half months ago and I couldn’t see why. He was always home with me and our 2 daughters and when he wasn’t he would be on the phone with me or at least texting me. Things started to change a little and he started hanging outside of our apt while the kids played and he started talking to one of the neighbors that had recently divorced her husband. Our daughter was freinds with her son and in the matter of a few days my husband was sneaking around to see her. I figured it all out in the first few days and he denied it all ur by week 2 he was moving in with her. He didn’t want family or freinds to know anything and he didn’t want to change our Facebook status either. He told me he didn’t know what he wanted anymore and that he needed to figure himself out. He still called me all day long and texted me. He carried on about how I’m his best freind and how he still loved me but he felt like there is something more out there for him. He then started telling me he needed to get away from the situation and really think. He took a vacation and went to be with his family in NYC for a week and came back and said he wanted to work on us. I had just found a house and the week he came back we moved in, I thought everything would be ok but he didn’t come home rite away. He said she owed him money and he was going to stays with her untill he got it back. I wasn’t happy with that at all and voiced it many times to the point where he said I was pressuring him and that he didn’t want to be pressured and that I was making him want to change his mind. After a month he came home but with more attitude and anger towards me. He has never been like that before with me but now he seemed all too different. He has started drinking but not heavily just more frequently where as he would have had a beer on a special occasion now he has a few every other day sometimes more. Things set him off very easily be it me our children his job whatever. He stopped calling me and now barely texts me, he comes and goes as he pleases without saying anything at all to me. I found out he was still seeing her and that she didn’t even know he was here with our family again. He has stopped his hobby of collecting vintage gaming and sold most of it off to take little trips out of town and to buy himself whatever he wants like clothes shoes and another iPad. We have arguements when we do talk and then he blows up and tells me I nag him, he doesn’t want this life and that he wants to move away so that he can think again and be able to focus. If I don’t try to talk to him or text him then he will text me and start to open a little about how clogged his mind is and how much he hates the town we live in. More recently when he is home he blows up one for being on my phone and the other night he through repeatedly at a block wall till the case broke off and then slammed it so the face shattered to a million pieces. He has no remorse for anything anymore. He has been sleeping on the couch for 2 months but still wants to have sex almost daily. He has said he needed help and got the number for a therapist but then decided against it. When he rages at me he tells me that we aren’t together and have no marriage, he says he wants a better life. I know he has depression issues but he won’t admit it yet. I spoke to his aunt finally about everything and she thinks his trigger was the passing of his mother 5 months before this all started. I also think another trigger was me wanting to lose weight, a month before this all started I went to the doctor and got a prescription to lose weight and my husband told me he didn’t want me to change and he loved me how I was. I told him I was doing it for me and to be there for our girls and his response was your going to lose weight and leave me. I told him I would never leave him and that I loved him more than anything. The first month I dropped 25 pounds and he didn’t seem happy for me, 2 weeks later he was starting his affair with the divorce down the complex from us, he didn’t know her at all and she is 10 years older than he. She is everything he didn’t like in women, an alcoholic, no job, and she cheated on her husband. Truly there’s nothing special about her but in one of his blow ups on me he said the reason he stayed with her was because she needed him. That statement floored me because we needed him more. I don’t know if he will seek help or if he will just pack up and leave us soon. I hope and pray that he will get help but I’m also preparing myself for him to walk out on us. If anyone has any advice for me I will happily take it

  2. Linda says:

    I was seeing someone for a few months and it was going great. We’d really hit it off and got close fast. We were quite happy together until he was hit with a nasty depression. At first, I thought he’d met someone else or lost interest in me. But the more we talked, the more I saw that it was actually depression (which he referred to as his ‘mood’).

    I believe it’s situational (not clinical) since he recently lost his best friend and he’s taking care of his mother, a stroke victim, 7 days a week. So he’s got plenty of reasons to feel down. I do worry, though, that it could turn clinical since he’s had this sort of depression several times over the past 5 years.

    He withdrew over the course of a few weeks. At first, I was confused re: what happened. He kept saying, “Oh, it’s just my mood. Don’t worry–my feelings haven’t changed for you at all.” Back then, he was still able to feel some good feelings and be passionate. Looking back, I’d do anything to go back to that time. But then, it got worse. More withdrawal to the point where there was almost no contact. He respond to texts from me, but barely.

    At one point, I said–“I don’t even know if we’re together anymore.” He said, “I need time to get out from this mood.”

    Note: he refers to it as a “mood” and not depression because of his culture, by the way. He’s from the Middle East. There, if you admit to being depressed, it’s the equivalent of saying you’re crazy. That’s why most don’t admit to it or seek help. Knowing this, I suggested acupuncture as a treatment, figuring it didn’t carry the stigma. He considered it, then said no. He prefers his own ‘method’ (being quiet and relaxing).

    Once he withdrew to the extent I just described, he stopped saying his feelings for me hadn’t changed. He began to say, “I don’t want to bother you with my mood. You deserve happiness.” He also said all he could handle was friendship. He definitely pushed me away and I think it was to ‘protect’ me.

    So now it’s over and I’m left wondering if what we had was even real. I feel he let the depression take him, so to speak, and didn’t fight it at all. Or maybe he tried and couldn’t. At various points, he said, “I don’t want to lose you.” Yet he never fought the depression or fought for me. This makes me very sad. Having said this, I understand that he’s feeling numb and unmotivated–that everything seems like too much of an effort or too stressful. I know because I’ve had depression once or twice.

    My questions for you, John (or anyone else), are:

    1. When the person feels better, do they usually remember all that happened and how much they may have hurt you? Or do they mostly remember how much they felt for you before they got depressed?

    2. Do most people who withdraw like this want to try the relationship again once they’re happy again? Or do they sometimes feel humiliated that they put the person through so much and figure that they’d never want to try again, so they don’t even ask?

    3. Are people who have just come out of a serious depression more open to getting help (or at least having a strategy in place) than while they’re in it? It seems to me that it’s impossible to suggest any help to someone while they’re in the the bottomless pit of the dark feelings.

    I guess I’m trying to figure out what to expect later–when he’s better and in the event he wants to try again. I feel so much for him and would be willing to try again (and I told him that I’d talk to him about it–if I’m available and not dating), but I wouldn’t want to experience this kind of withdrawal again. It’s quite awful. It feels like total abandonment. :(

    Thank you for any/all insights and advice.

    • Mm says:

      Linda, My DP has returned after 14 months.

      My dp left me last last April. 14 months ago

      We had an incredible connection and relationship. If you look back at posts I was asking these same questions you are asking last summer.

      He just last week saw me and we discussed working things out. There is hope.

      I stayed in touch with him. Every few weeks. Sometimes he replied. Sometimes he didn’t. But I did it consistently. It hurt. I was rejected at times. Other times we was glad I still loved him.

      When I contacted him I always told him he could come home. We had been together prior to this for a few happy years. I always reminded him of who he was. In other words I was vulnerable to him and completely loved him despite his withdrawal and isolation.

      I read a lot. I also dated. And worked on myself. That helped.

      I did a few things like send him books is found. You may find some written specifically for his culture so he first admits the problem. I would say he is not likely to improve without proper help and admitting his mood is depression that needs to be treated.

      I researched doctors and made apts for him. I created a box of the things I loved about him. I wrote on slips of paper things he was. I did little things like this as a constant reminder to him that I still cared, he wasn’t alone and he wasn’t this person to fight the depression.

      It was a lonely time. I often felt foolish. And hurt. But I love him and had to help. I also wanted to save us.

      When we recently talked he said he missed me. Really cared about me. Didn’t want to lose me. Was grateful I loved him through it. Wanted to talk about working things out.

      He sent a text too. It apologized for all things he said that he never meant. He said he never meant a word of it. He was pushing me away. To answer your question he said he thought about us and the way we were fondly. But this took a long time to get here. Over a year.

      I had recently gone five weeks without talking to him or reaching out. I think it helped. I had always checked on him every few weeks. But honestly I was ready to give up. I was exhausted. I was ready to really move on. I’m lonely.

      I think that feeling of my absence after my constant presence for a year may have helped him realize I could be gone for good.

      In the dark he had moments where he said things that deeply hurt me. I’m not sure what will happen or if we can repair it but there is hope. People do return. Love does help to heal.

      I encourage you to put in the effort you think you can. Don’t forget about you either. If you think it’s worth it then stick with him. Send a text every now and then. Tell him his mood is not his fault. Let him know he has you as a friend. Remind him of who he was before the depression.

      If you can’t do this then run. Honestly it’s a hell of a hard road and even with my DP returning it may not work out. It’s a risk. Soulmate worthy but definitely not a path I would’ve taken if he hadn’t meant so much to me.

      I hope that helped. Hang in there. Take care of yourself.

      MA

      • Linda says:

        MA,

        Thank you SO much for your comment. It was very helpful. I give you a lot of credit for hanging in there so long. You must be very strong.

        I’m not sure what to do next really. He totally pushed me away–as in, the relationship officially ended. We agreed to be ‘friends,’ but things just got worse. More withdrawal. His last few messages sounded fake, sort of stilted. I swear I didn’t even know who he was.

        Then, a few days ago, I figured out that after deactivating his Facebook account a few weeks ago (claiming it was stressing him out too much to respond to comments and to see depressing news), he reactivated it at some point–and blocked me. I figured this out because I have another account I rarely use and saw him there (but not on mine).

        I was so upset–it really hurt–that he would deceive me that way. I was ready to confront him and ask why he did that vs being honest.

        I then learned, from someone who knows someone who knows him, that his family situation (a major part of his stress), had gotten worse about a week ago. A parent he was taking care of just got sicker and could even be dying.

        I then thought–OMG–glad I didn’t contact him and try to confront him. That’s the last thing he needs right now. And maybe he had a sort of OK reason (in his mind) for blocking me.

        He probably wanted to isolate himself further from me–to ‘protect’ me. I have a feeling that dealing with me was too stressful for him (I’m not great at giving space and at times, had questions for him that were tough). Maybe he didn’t want to answer basic Qs re: the depression. Or he needed his guy friends. Maybe he didn’t want to see me on FB, having fun. (Recently I posted a photo of myself on the beach smiling.) Perhaps he didn’t want me to see him on FB, suffering, especially if/when the parent dies. Or maybe he just feels I’m a reminder of some kind of failure, etc.

        Considering the way depression drives a person to behave, I could almost forgive this FB incident. He always seemed honest to me (when he was happy)–definitely not a liar by nature–so maybe this wasn’t an outright deception. I know that some depressed people tell lies so they don’t have to expend energy explaining things.

        For now, we’re allegedly friends, but it doesn’t feel like it. There’s no contact at all now. I’m trying to move on…to not slip into depression myself. That’s a very real danger.

        So I’ve cried a lot with my friends…I treated myself to a massage today…and I’m going for some sort of healing session this weekend. I think that now, since his parent is worse and/or possibly dying, he’s in the darkest pit of all. I have a strong feeling that he’ll be depressed for months now, maybe longer. And so, for my own sanity, I’m letting go of him (or maybe the fantasy of him). Right now, anyway.

        I do think he wants me to move on with my life. I remember him saying at various points–‘You deserve happiness.’ That was in the context of him not wanting to burden me. So I’m going ahead with it–moving on. Even though I only want him, I’m going to open myself up to dating others.

        I did at one point, recently, send a message saying that when he gets better, there’s a good chance his feelings for me will return. And if so and if he wants to try to rekindle things, he can call me. If I’m not dating, I’d definitely chat with him. I told him how happy I was with him and thanked him for letting me see the wonderful man he is inside, etc.

        So I really like your ideas re: sending an occasional message and saying that the ‘mood’ is not his fault, that I’m his friend and reminding him of who he was before. This makes a lot of sense to me. I also like the idea of getting him a book re: depression in his own language at some point (maybe when he’s a little better and not so overwhelmed by the family stuff).

        Even though I’m moving on, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about him and missing him so much–and hoping that someday he does come back…at least to talk to me, to help me understand what this was and maybe to try to be together again. The only thing is–he’d have to agree to get some kind of help. I don’t think I could go through this again…and it’s only been 1 month of the withdrawal/decline.

        Thank you again, MA. (And sorry if my reply is a bit disjointed or wordy; I’m so burnt out from all that’s happened.) You are so strong and I’m really happy your guy came back to you. I truly hope things work out.

        L

        • MA says:

          L,

          You’re welcome.

          Just know it was hell. Nothing less. I nearly sank into depression myself.

          I learned quickly to not ask questions about his depression. I still today don’t know what medication he is on Etc. We’ve had one date that went well but I focused on having fun, kissing him again, reminding him of who we were before this monster depression erupted and I talked to him a bit about us and the value if our relationship. We planned a serious talk for this week.

          I wanted to ask. I’ve wanted to for a year now. I’m also hurt. I’ve learned through this experience how selfish depression is. I have been neglected for a year plus now and had to face things like being diagnosed with lupus alone. It can make you bitter. I try not to be. To remember this is not him.

          I had moments with him where he said the same things your dp said to you. He at the start told me he didn’t feel he could love. He had to be alone. That later turned into leave me alone and I don’t want you. I heard horrible things the deeper the depression got. Once he broke his hand punching the floor and told me no one else still expected him to be who he was and to leave him the f alone. This man never yelled or even said damn in the two plus years I dated him. He hated it when I cursed! And he was easy going. We never even had a fight. He was positive. Funny. Warm.

          I know how you feel. It’s not him though. He needs help. He feels alone my DP said he spent nights thinking of me in regret of pushing me away.

          I gave him space too. A month here. A few weeks there. He at times said he was glad I loved him. At other times he verbally assaulted me. Even said I was trying to trap him if I tried to meet with him. Then two weeks later he would meet with me and say the opposite.

          My best advice is to try to let anything he says roll off you. It’s not him. Also I’ve read it’s easier for the DP to be with friends than us–we are the ones closest to them and they can’t mask it with us. Partners mean pressure for the DP. It hurt me when I went from his solace to his enemy all on his own doing. I hadn’t changed a thing.

          I also read things like things not to say to a depressed person etc. It may help you. I replied to you because your story echoes my own. Down to the depression denial–my partner didn’t believe depression was real. We had discussed it when he was well. He’d always said that people just needed to pull out if things and man up. It took him a long time to admit he was depressed. So hang in there -or don’t- but keep doing things for you like you are. Date. It stinks but I met some great people. No one replacement worthy but it helped me. And continue those massages and weekends. That’s awesome that you are already doing that for yourself. ;) Contact him every few weeks. I marked a calendar. It was the only way I stayed sane and patient. My DP saw any contact as pressure. It was a long painful road. Many days I said I’m done. Never again. But I kept checking on him. It was like knowing he was drowning and doing nothing. I had to keep going back. Hard stuff!!!!
          If you stay the road may be long. And he may never return. I knew this but it was worth the risk for me. He was worth the fight whether it works out in the end or not. But so am I.
          Time will tell. Until then get some laughter in and some peace. ;)
          MA

          • Linda says:

            Hi, MA–and thanks again! I really appreciate all that you’ve shared. It’s very helpful.

            My situation is tricky since we were only together for a few months. We were just getting started. And it was one of the best beginnings I’ve ever had. I really thought I was falling in love with him. But how well did I really know him after such a short period of time?

            Perhaps if I’d know him longer, it would have been better in some ways and worse in others.(I can’t imagine this happening with someone you’ve been close to for a few years and are totally in love with. Sounds like the ultimate hell.)

            But since it was so brief, there’s another kind of shock. I’m left scratching my head, asking–who is he really? I believe he’s the wonderful man I was getting to know, the one I hit it off with. A sweet man who enjoyed communicating, laughing together–someone who always wanted me to be happy.

            But who he is now is someone else.

            I’m glad you told me that your dp did the same stuff to you. It helps me to not take it personally (including the Facebook blocking). I get it. Also, the part re: being with a partner being more stressful than with friends. We know something’s wrong and ask questions. Like you said, contact = pressure. They can’t handle it. And I guess that’s where the lying comes in (like the FB lie).

            I think I’m going to do what you’ve suggested–be in contact every couple of weeks. I’ll say the things that one should say to depressed people (I’ve seen some good lists and I like what you said, too.)

            But….I’m only leaving myself a tiny bit open to a possible future with him. When he gets better and if he wants to chat about trying again, I’d be open to talking about a second chance (which I told him). But–and this is a huge ‘but’–if he doesn’t acknowledge the depression as a real problem AND get some kind of help (even just acupuncture, which can be quite effective), then I would immediately walk away (or just have a limited friendship). No way could I deal with him and untreated depression. It would kill me.

            For now, though, I’m letting go. The relationship did end. I’m figuring that the odds of him coming back to me are 50/50, but the odds of him getting help are slim. Also, he will be withdrawn/depressed for a very long time (now that his parent is sicker and possibly dying)–maybe 6 months or a year. So it’s best to move on, thinking it won’t happen, and to open myself up to other men (although I’m sure I’ll still want him for quite a while).

            I think it would be healthier if I really wrote him off 100% and didn’t contact him at all, but I keep remembering what we had together. It was that good. So for that reason, I’ll keep myself a tiny bit open while being realistic that it won’t happen. The reality is that the relationship was destroyed. He didn’t ask me to wait for him. I don’t believe he wants me to (of course, he’s not feeling much and his thinking is distorted). And I have gotten depressed over the past month due to what’s happened. I can’t afford more of that.

            I have a question. You said your guy is taking medication. Has he been on it the entire time you’ve known him or did he just start recently? I’m wondering if he withdrew/disappeared despite being on the medication. The thought of that worries me, too. Like, do these patterns often continue even if the person is being treated?

          • MA says:

            Linda,

            I knew a year ago what medication he was on. I was the one who pushed him to see his doctor. He was on Wellbutrin. He gradually got worse. I’m not sure what he is taking now or has taken. I’m sure that conversation will come in time if we do work this out. It’s slow moving but that’s probably best. After all we’ve been through and all his changes the past year slow is more stable.
            I do know he got worse and before he left me last april I asked him to see about a different medication. In the past year I’ve never been in a place with him where I felt asking about his treatment plan would go over well. He stopped sharing things with me a long time ago. Sadly . I used to be his oasis. Eventually he pushed me out too.
            My ex took chantix to quit smoking. He was never the same again. I strongly feel it did permanent damage or blocking to did receptors for pleasure etc. I’ve read case studies of this and I think the chantix was the fuel that triggered his already depressed mind.

            M

    • Kirstie says:

      Linda,

      Your story is very similar to mine. I was dating a lovely guy for 5 months – the first 2 months were just amazing connection, lovely and warm. Then I went out of the country for 3 months (planned before we met) and we both made a huge effort to keep everything going. Lovely, funny, intelligent, sexy communication. I came back and everything was great, but he had a lot of stressors and after 1.5 weeks, he suddenly shut down and cut me out. A week and a half later he finally got in touch to say that he couldn’t be in a relationship, he’d been depressed, just wanted to sit around the house and mope and listen to music. That was just over a month ago. It’s been devastating and I’ve learned a lot about depression. Some responses I’ve had have been great, mostly leaving him alone, though I’ve had a couple emotional moments here and there where I reached out, wanting questions answered…and of course I didn’t get an answer. I was trying to keep in touch, sending small things like pictures,but it was making me crazy and I’ve been fighting the resulting depression on my own part.

      I finally a couple weeks ago sent a text that said I had to stop trying because it was making me crazy. That if he wanted to be in touch, I hoped he would. I haven’t heard from him since. One of the emotional texts I sent last week. It’s hard on a down day to get your head around how could this have happened? I feel cheated of a really lovely relationship it’s hard to grasp the idea that I would never see him again. There’s part of you that realizes you could move on and find someone without the depression and probably be just as happy, but when you find something that’s incredibly special, it’s hard to let that go. Even though the likelihood is he won’t come back. Even today I sent him a picture of the dog (who he loves) and didn’t get a response, which I expected at this point. Some of his major life stressors outside of me were family issues and finishing up a degree.

      He was military for 26 years, and has been diagnosed with anxiety/major depression/PTSD/insomnia and does go to therapy and has meds. They changed his meds in April/May and I think that also might partly have contributed to the breakdown.

      It’s been hard when you feel so helpless….

  3. Sara says:

    My amazing, wonderful fiance got very depressed and left me. No warnings, no signs, he just left a 4 year relationship with kids involved without even saying goodbye to any of us. He just sent a text. He turned overnight into a complete stranger. My loving, sensitive, gorgeous man was replaced with an aggressive, blaming, cold monster.

    A few times since he has come back to me for a few days at a time. I live for those times. He comes to me and tells me he didn’t know what he was thinking. He says his “love” just went away and all he felt was anger and fear. He begs me to wait, to trust and to believe he will be back.

    Then after a few wonderful days, the horror descends again and he tells me he doesn’t love me, that we have no future, that talking about it is pointless.

    He blames me for his depression, or at least says I am a “factor” and this is killing me. He never told me anything between us was making him unhappy. I feel so lost.

    He is being treated for a major depressive episode with medication and therapy. He is better, more stable, but he feels no emotions. No joy, no love. Because the anti depressants are working to relieve his depression he takes this as confirmation that leaving his family was the right choice.

    He doesn’t even find anything strange about not loving us anymore, although he freely admits before he was depressed I was “his world”. I wish he was better and would come home.

  4. brien jones says:

    I have been married for 15 years and my wife has left me on 2/12/14. She mentioned that she loves and no longer wants to be married. She says that I did not meet her needs and wants over 15 years. It is hard to believe over 15 years of marriage. We had a lot of good times and bad times. My wife’s statement is hard take. I asked her did you she meet somebody or interested in someone else. My wife has issues with self-esteem and weight issues over the years. She will not accept my calls nor text messages and we have two children together. She did mention that we have to work on each other before any marriage restoration can be reviewed and that still put in a no win situation and nothing is guaranteed. Please advise of how to handle these things at “brienjones0919@yahoo.com

  5. daren says:

    hey am daren i had a wonderful relation with a wonderful ladie she was my gf for 4 years it was really so beautiful but due to me we broke up. i was always afraid from the future i had to many problems in my childhood and that’s what made me leave as a pessimist person for a certain number of years i decided to be alone and i think that i really changed in the past 2 years and am now optimistic i knew that i love her and i will still in love with her .i wanted to come back but i was shocked cause she is now in a new relation and it seems very serious.i cant forget her and i dont think i will i need help to continue my life as now am passing in really horrible time i am thinking all day all night i think this is taking me crazy.i want to win her back and i dont know if i can surpass this.i cant go to new relation cause i cant it is been 2 years but now 5 months to stressed knowing that she went in a relation.i know i made mistakes in the past and i know that i was thinking like a kid and now am more mature and i am sure of what i want.any help
    thank you

  6. Jonathan says:

    My darling loving wife of 22 years announced last week she was going to leave. We have two beautiful children 13 and 10. My 10 year old has Autism and that’s a whole other story as too how is is going to cope.
    My wife had a difficult childhood and when I met her she was 17. I helped her through watching her Mam die of cancer 6 months later.
    Over the years depression reared its head but we dealt with it together. Progressively it got worse until two years ago she went to pieces. We got over that hurdle but my wife’s Doctors suggested counselling. For the past year my wife has had EMDR therapy. This is pretty intense therapy which was aimed at helping my wife deal with not grieving over her Mothers death along with other childhood issues.
    Pretty soon into the therapy my wife’s personality changed completely. She is now distant uncaring thoughtless. 6 months ago she announced she didn’t love me that way. She didn’t have a plan but didn’t see a future together for us.
    She flatly denies depression saying she is dealing with issues. She now is just trying to take control and find peace.
    I cannot begin to explain the pain in my heart. I can’t breathe sometimes. My soul mate is leaving, leaving with no explanations given.
    I could say a lot more but
    Do women who leave under these circumstances come back or is it final?
    Does anyone has experience of this?

    • Carl says:

      Hey Jonathan, You story sounds alot like mine. My ex gf lost her mother suddenly, then her best friend also died suddenly. She was diagnosed 2 years ago went untreated we handled that bout. In May she breaks up with me out the blue she changed completely was cold and uncaring apathetic hasn’t asked how i am in over 5months. She also flatly denies depression tho her behavior is text book. They wont be rational or reasonable and you wont get any answers I haven’t..I experienced these worst parts of her life be her side kept her going..and now im treated like i wasn’t her best friend and soul mate.

      I know your pain i feel it everyday. Obviously two healthy people talk and work through there problems. But how they see things is distorted and how they feel right now or lack of is real to them its there reality and they wont hear any different. There feelings are there i do believe this but there just so consumed with apathy that we dont matter.

      • Jonathan says:

        Carl.
        Thank you.
        It’s comforting to know it’s not just me, your description well fits my wife.
        It’s like I don’t exist. Everything is about her, her feelings her thoughts.
        If you had asked my 2 years ago if this would happen to our family I would have laughed you out of town.
        Got my 2 kids to look after. Due to M illness I still feel it’s my obligation to her to the kids and to my marriage vows to keep my heart open for her.
        But who knows what the future holds.
        I hope she finds the peace she longs for

        • Carl says:

          I see you have found your way to the fallout site. Good you will get great support there. Ive never had to endure this kind of pain before, and i cant stand being treated like i dont exist…but its gonna take her time we are not getting any love or respect so we have to give that to ourselves.

          • Jonathan says:

            Yes.
            Well last night was her first night in her new flat.

            It’s so hard 24 years together. And nothing. Im struggling with the unjustness and unfairness of it all
            She has done this to my kids, split up a caring loving home.
            We will be sharing equally I hope the childcare.

            Do I just let her be or fight because of the kids?
            I’m quite mad actually I’ve had no say in all of this.
            I just fit into line with whatever she wishes.

            Aargh. This is hard.

      • ken says:

        hi carl, ive had this problem for 8 months now with my girlfriend, she disappeared to start with has come back three times only to disappear again i love her so much but shes not the same person i met nearly three years ago, she wont go to the doctors and is drinking at home to fight the depression, she doesnt answer texts only once a week although she gave me her number again because i had deleted it, im at my wits end and i myself am suffering from anxiety and depression.

  7. Cass says:

    I’d like to say thank you for the many articles on this site because for the longest time I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. My partner left as well and I can’t come to terms with it because I keep on thinking of the ‘him’ when he was ok. I stayed on because I knew he was going through something deep and it wasn’t who he was. But one day he just left over a text.

    The last year we were together was turmoil and I supported him financially and emotionally and just a few weeks ago, he decided to up and leave and told me he has never loved me that I’m better off moving on and better off with someone else that can love me and care for me the way i deserve. This comes after months of him saying we need space and eventually just leaving. I had to pack his things for him (we share a house). He says he needs to fix himself without me.

    I’m trying to move on with life and accept the situation but being left with a heap of bills, confused and heartbroken is proving harder to get my life back. I don’t know what to do because my job is suffering.

    • Nile says:

      Cass,

      I’m in the same situation as you. My girlfriend was dealing with a lot of stress in the last month or so. She’ll ask for space and I’ll leave her alone. Usually she’ll contact me after few days to hang out again. She prefers to deal with the stress by herself, at least that’s the way it seems. She hates to cry in front of people because she feels self conscious about it.

      She asked for space again 2 weeks ago. This time lasted a week before she finally send texts to say she’s sorry for put me through a lot of pain. She says she can’t deal with relationships for long and regrets put me through it all. She says she cares about me and that I deserve better.

      It was hard to read such texts because I love her and want to be there by her side when she goes through tough times. Anyhow, she decided it was best to break up. I gracefully accepted it at the time. 3 days later I made contact to ask her to reconsider. That didn’t end well. She got really upset and was very stressed out. I backed off and apologized.

      I stopped all contacts since. I sincerely wish she gets better. I wish her happiness with me or without me. It’s heartbreaking for me as I just started to learn about her conditions and would accept her fully regardless.

      Cass, I could only imagine how hard it must have been for you these days.

      • sue says:

        hey
        Ive just gone through exactly the same scenario. Together a year, bliss, love of my life about to move in then bam!!! A few arguments where not nice things were said, and a guy at my work coming onto me(which i told my ex about) led to a depressive episode. I knew he was sensitive, had past chilhood problems but all the little imperfections of our relationship coupled with thoughts of past led to him breaking it off with me . One minute he loved me and it wasnt me the next it was all me and i had f…ed him up. He wouldnt speak to me or see me for months and i hung in there everyday, offering love and support, but he continued to text every day or so. Everytime he sensed id had enough he would say its the depression i dont know what i want, we may be together again, i dont know bla bla bla…
        In my case I have two children by my ex husband and knew i could no longer live with this. So did everything i was meant to. Offer support if needed told him all the wonderful things about him, said if he gets better he knows where i am(hes in therapy) then said im leaving you to sort yourself.
        Then come the angry text messages, again i offer to meet, no, he never acknowledged one word i said one answer i gave him. Apparemtly i never loved him enough, he couldnt cope with the kids not being his(apparently i rubbed this in his face),not once did i, so i get cross now esp when a friend sees him out with a mate when he is too depressed to see me.
        I get cross and ive not had contact with him since. I bagen to feel ill and i cant go down that road My children need a strong mum. If a relationship isnt perfect, leave, it shouldnt feel like this. if its meant to be THEY will return to you.
        Yes im heartbroken, have that feeling in my stomach, cant sleep. But remind myself everyday i am unhappy because of him. He once made me so happy and to make me feel this way isnt the one for me.
        Wow that helped writing it down.
        Feel for everyone going through this right now

  8. Anna says:

    After a month of searching for answers this is the most fitting article I have found yet so thank you for it as it underpins what I am going through- a month ago my husband of only 18 months (together 12 years) walked out after a row (he has been depressed (we both have ) for a couple of years)-and has never come back. We had recently moved to a new part of the country,know nobody and he was my only friend. We have no children or family here. He dosnt answer emails texts and his phone is switched off- although I received one short email a week ago to say he was going to file for divorce and he had no love left to give me and asked me to leave him alone to get on with his life. He didnt enquire how I was. I suspect he ha gone to live in another part of the country with his mother (father deceased) and this has been a double blow as now I am now here alone unexpectedly in this new part of the country far from anyone I know with all plans for the future we had gone and feel a little desperate as what to do. I just want to comfort him and help him but he has not answered any communication.Hope is in my heart only as a way of getting through but I wonder what to do for myself now to rebuild me life and am frightened.Good luck to everyone who is going through this

    • VG says:

      Anna,
      I’m so sorry you have been left and frightened. Nothing could be more frightening than going through this where you partner turns on you literally overnight, but being left in an unfamiliar place is terrible. Is there anyway you can move back to where family or friends area?

      VG

  9. jessa says:

    the father of my 2 young boys walked out on us when we were homeless living in a hotel said he be back never did. he wont talk to me and dont bother with the Boys we have a 4 year old and 7 year old and i dont know what to say to them i feel so alone after we been together for6years and been through so much and he knows i dont have family he is my family after 6 weeks gone he tallks to my sister and dad who he knows he dont give a shit saying hes going to move across country needs to work on himself an if im still single in a year we will get back together i dont know what to do, this pain is unbearable,after this long avoiding everybody why bother saying anything at all just leave then.

    • James says:

      I saw this and my heart breaks for you. I prayed that the Lord blesses you and helps you through this terrible difficulty. Take care of yourself and the boys. God Bless.

  10. Abby says:

    I’ve read a few of your blog posts, and want to say thank you — your words make a lot of sense and have helped me, at least a little bit, deal with my recent break up with a very depressed man. It’s crazy how accurate you are, both from the things that he has said and done to my own reactions to it. I’m having the hardest time right now because he said that he feels like he needs to spend all his energy on fixing his life, that a romantic relationship is too deep, he can’t handle it, he has nothing to give and that’s not fair to me. When he left me he had all these ideas on how he was going to make his life better. So I let him go — I mean, I can’t force him to stay in a relationship he doesn’t want to be in, and if I really love him, how on earth could I ever say “No, don’t go do the things you think you need to do to be OK.” The problem is, he’s not making good on his word. I’ve seen him once since we split up and he looks terrible, he says he’s way worse off than he was before. He told me he felt like our connection had been waning (no surprise, since he started completely isolating himself and not talking or connecting with ANYBODY, let alone the woman who loves him so very much. I was OK wiht our breakup (or as OK as I could be) when he said he was going to go off and fix his life, but it kills me that he’s not. It kills me that he seems even more miserable, and now i can’t even do little things for him to make his life easier. It hurts so badly.

    Thanks again for your words, I’m really just trying to understand why this is happening and how to deal with it. You’ve given me a bit of insight and something to relate to. I feel like I’ve been cut with a knife and all the knots in my head are ridiculously tangled. I hope that eventually it gets better, for both of us.

  11. mary says:

    I think my husband is depressed. My son has been very sick the last 3 years. On 11/30 of this year, head a small bowel transplant. My husband was here the first 7 days and then left the hospital, our three other children and myself and our sick child in the middle of the night. He took our vehicle and everything in it and his left US at a hospital 3 hours from where we live. My son is still in the hospital and will be for the next few months. I have no idea what to do and feel like this is s bad dream!

  12. Eric says:

    Thank you for writing this article. Thank you as well, to everyone who wrote a comment or post. It takes a lot of courage to share one’s feelings, even though it may not feel that way when you’re posting. You are all good, brave souls. You give me the courage necessary to now ask for advice with my own situation…

    …Two weeks ago, on 9/24, just before 8PM, my wife of 9 years sent me the following text:

    ” I’m sorry that things had to be this way. I filed a civil order of protection against you today. This means that you can’t come within 500 ft of me or the kids. You also can’t call me, text, stalk or have someone else contact me. We are safe and will not be coming home tonight. The sheriff will serve you with the papers in the morning.”

    Naturally, I instantly felt shocked, saddened, angered, afraid, etc…pretty much every negative emotion possible, all at once.

    Before I continue, I should make it clear that I’ve never physically or sexually abused my wife or children (aside from the rare light spanking or slap of the hand). Outside of playing a sport at the collegiate & professional levels, I have no history of violence as an adult. I’ve never been arrested or detained for anything. I’ve never threatened my wife or kids with physical violence. That said, I do have a temper and am quicker to anger than most. I had been seen for depression & was taking medication for 2 years, but stopped treatment altogether 1.5 years ago, when I felt I wasn’t making progress. My wife started seeing a therapist & taking medication for her own depression about 1 year ago. She told me she was getting treatment for her depression caused by dealing with her terminally ill mother & her own past history of childhood sexual abuse by her step-father & a series of broken homes & divorces & drug use by her mother (who had her at age 16), and a biological father whom she hadn’t seen since she was 4 months old. She told me about all these issues when we were still dating. I had always encouraged her to seek treatment, as it did play a role in our relationship & would probably just help her feel better as a person. We never fought or argued while dating. We began to fight & argue once engaged. Our fights & arguements because more frequent & intense once married. Then we had our 2 children. Both were difficult pregnancies. Both kids were born premature. My wife spent 1 month of her 1st pregnancy in the hospital. Our son, spent another 1.5 months in the hospital after he was born. Our son, now 7, still has medical & behavior issues to this day. This strained our marriage. Our fights escalated & increased. I lost my job 2 years ago & haven’t worked since. Our fights took a darker turn. We began to call each other the worst of names. I’d throw clothes at her telling her to get out for the night. She’d slap & punch & scratch me & throw books & other hard things at me. I’d try to restrain her from doing these things by holding her arms from behind, or pinning her on the bed until she calmed down. I never hit her or slapped her, even though she’d bruised & cut me. I thought she was cheating on me and wanted her to leave. She denied any infidelity & refused to leave. She got in my face, I spit in hers. I asked her to leave again. She called me paranoid & insecure & refused to go. I tried to force her to leave by holding her by the ankles & as gently as I could drag her about 5 feet on her butt to the center of the bedroom where I’d thrown some of her clothes. She struggled & hit her hip on the door frame, bruising her. That was was the end of July this year. She also was bruised on the 2 previous occasions when I tried to restrain her from attacking me. The 3 bruising incidents were minor, not even close to needing a doctor or hospital. The bruises & cut I received from her attacks were also just as minor.

    Fast forward to the present. After receiving her text about the civil order of protection I learned more information. She had moved out of our house with the kids, to an apartment(she wouldn’t tell me where); opened a new bank accoutrements & asked that I switch all the utilities to my name only. The hearing for the civil protection order was set for last Tuesday, 10/2. Through a family member, I learned she was afraid of me, admittedly sad & conflicted, did not want to go to the hearing, and was reluctant to try to work it out, although she did say she would think about it & in her own words “just couldn’t bring herself to take off her wedding & engagement rings. Wanting to fix things & get back together, I after learning from my lawyer, that I’d have no shot at getting back together with my wife if the full hearing took place & wanting to shield my wife from further emotional stress that my attorney would put her through in the event of a full hearing, I agreed to voluntarily sign the civil protection order, but only with modifications allowing for visitation with my kids & the establishment of some form of communication between my wife & I. We agreed to terms on supervised visitation with my kids & texts or emails about our kids. I also agreed to undergo anger management counseling I still had to stay 500 feet away from my wife, except at functions involving the kids & any future court proceedings. I also learned she had completed & signed divorce paperwork, but had yet to file it. That was not unusual according to my attorney. A family member spoke with her, prior to the us signing the modified order of protection. When they spoke she was crying almost the entire time & said she was conflicted & that she couldn’t bring herself to take her rings off. She also agreed to hold off on actually filing the divorce papers & to at least think about giving our marriage another shot. That was a week ago, 10/1. We signed the modified protection order the next day 10/2. Since 10/2, I’ve seen her once when she dropped off some clothes she forgot for the kids at my first scheduled visitation this past Saturday night, 10/6. I sent her a text a few minutes later with some cute pictures of me & the kids and the following text:

    Thanks for tonight. But, they are really confused. Our son especially. He keeps telling me he’s sad & asks when I’m coming home with him & Mommy & sister. I don’t know what to tell him without breaking down. When you’re ready, we should talk about it, please. That’s all. Try to get some sleep.

    These are the texts that followed between us:

    Her: Just tell them the truth, that’s what I’m doing. This kind of message is inappropriate right now. Please don’t text me unless it has to do with the kids directly.

    Me: That had everything to do with the kids.

    Her: I’m serious. You can say things like what time are you dropping off the kids, etc

    Me: You are correct to a point. But it is not limited to only the logistics of picking up & dropping off kids. That said, if you’d rather I keep it to that for now, I will, if it makes you more comfortable. I was and am simply concerned about the kids well being.

    Her: I am concerned about their well being also. That is why we are where we are. I would feel more comfortable if you would keep to things strictly about more logistical things about the kids

    Me: For the time being, until you are more comfortable, yes?

    Her: Yes. I will let you know when I am ready to talk

    Me: I understand. I will respect your request. I promise. I do not want to make you feel uncomfortable in any way shape or form. If it makes you feel more comfortable, we can keep communication about kids going through my Mom as much as possible? Would that make you more comfortable?

    Her: Yes it would

    Me: I understand. I promise I will respect your wishes on that as well. I’m truly sorry this upset you. When you’re ready…I will be ready to listen. Is that OK?

    Her: Ok

    Me: Thank you. Goodnight.

    That was my only attempt at any communication thus far. Prior to that I’d made every effort to give her as much space as I could. I didn’t try to call her, see her, get a message to her, nothing at all. I even volunteered to not be present 15 before & after she dropped off the kids for visitation this past Saturday, in an effort to make it easier on her. I also volunteered to do the same again today when she drops off the kids for my second visitation with the kids.

    I’m now at a crossroads. I want my wife & family back. I’m doing all I can. I’ve schedule my anger management counseling. I’m actively job hunting. I’m exercising. I’m eating healthy. I’m back in therapy for my depression. I admitted some things to my parents that she’d normally tell me she’d be shockingly proud of me for admitting. I’m giving her all the space I can give by offering to not text her at all, and not be present when she drops off the kids, both which she said would make her feel more comfortable.

    But, I’m not 100% sure that the amount of space I’ve offered to give her is the right thing to do. I want her to get comfortable enough to feel safe enough to talk to me again. But at the same time I don’t want to give her so much space that she completely gets over me, resulting in her having no other emotions left for me, leaving her emotionally removed enough to actually end up filing the divorce papers.

    Given all this, how much space do I give & for how long? Should I try to remain as out of sight out of mind to her as I can? Or do I try to keep myself at least in her mind a bit more by at the bare minimum at least be physically present, but silent, at drop offs & pick ups of the kids?

    I’m thinking about offering her the following deal: If she will faithfully agree to talk with me & truly try to work things out to save our marriage through counseling, talking, doing whatever we need to do to save our marriage, etc… that if she agrees to all that wholeheartedly, then if we still can’t make it work after all that, I will agree to whatever terms of a divorce she requests, no questions asked. Should I hold off on offering that?

    What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Please help me. Please. Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Jamie says:

      This story could almost be my situation, except it is my husband of 11 years, who has walked out on me, leaving me to raise three daughters. He told me via e mail he was leaving, and has barely spoken to me.

  13. arielle says:

    When a guy says he will probably avoid you for the rest of his life, but you avoid him back and give him LOTS of time and then come back nicely, can you re-kindloe your friendship?

    Yes we dated and had sex and he broke up with me saying I was the girl he can see ending up with and he wasnt ready so we stayed friends but we got closer again and he kept sending me these pictures of couples and captions underneith like this will be us and telling me he would marry me one day and then on a rainyday I don’t know what happend but we started sexting and then the next we did it again and the next day he broke up with me but this time he said we wouldnt even be friends because he will always want to touch me and our relationship wont work out the way we want and he is never happy.

    Well he did avoid me, my texts, emails, calls right up until his b-day I sent him a pic of my boobs..not my finest moment but he repied with why would you send me a pic of your boobs? They are all I want and I said all I wanted was him and he told me he was not going to be in a relationship with me and I asked if he felt anything for me and he said no but then I asked if he honesly thought even now we wouldnt end up together and he said in a relationship and I said yes years from now and he said maybe so we sexted and then he told me he kept a pic of me and looked at it every night and missed me..but 2 hours later he said he will change his mind again and again but he wont do this again with me.

    A month later I ran into him and we talked and were friendly and I asked if he was going to keep avoiding me and he said he will probably keep avoiding me the rest of his life and I asked why? and he said he was an aweful person and I said I just want to be friends and he said no and then I asked if I was so horrible to be around and he said no but I knew why we couldnt be friends and I jokingly said why do you torture me and he said he was an aweful person and I tunred away and said this isnt over and he said goodbye.

    We are going to be in the same uni and I reeeally dont want it to be over…I just need to know what to do and can a guy REALLY mean it’s over and there is nothing I can do? I just feel in my heart it isnt over between us and I am not a clingy or stupid girl I know when something is over and I know when to let go.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, arielle –

      If he is depressed, then I think you should focus on the illness rather than search his shifting and confused feelings and words for what he “really” feels. My concern would be that he get some treatment for depression, if that is his condition, and hopefully work through his “damaged goods” sense of himself with a therapist. I think you’ll continue to feel tortured and he’ll keep dumping on himself and going back and forth with you until he can deal with depression.

      All my best —

      John

  14. Susan says:

    John,
    I can’t thankyou enough for the raw grit of what you share. It helps to put some reality around what feels surreal for those of us left in the wake of a depressive partner who has left. In my case, I have a partner who has asked for no contact as he is dealing with his “issues”. Reading and researching have become my new past time. Hoever, it has also bred new fears. I am fearful that this family/friends will see this seemingly happy guy and validate that ending the relationship was just what he needed, instead of encouraging him to continue treatment; or that he’s be lax or unknowledgeable about choosing a suitable therapist and/or treatment/drugs and may give up if there is no seemingly immediate relief; or that he will feel too guilty about what he thinks he’s done to me to try and work on our relationship once he’s at a healthy place. These are just a few of the many fears. Can you share any insights about any of those issues. Can you also share your thoughts on building a knowledge base with family and friends who are aware so that he can receive support that will assist him on his journey to health? I don’t want to hurt the wonderful relationship I share with our family/friends by appearing to have my own agenda; this is first and foremost about helping him regain a sense of well-being. And yes, I want the future we planned together; any denial of that would be dishonest. But one is not possible without the other.

    Kindest regards.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Susan –

      I recognize all those fears that you mention, and the worst part of it is that you can’t get through to him with any of the insight you’ve gained. It’s a very disempowered position to be in, and it just plain hurts. If you can be in touch with family and close friends, I think it helps to share your concerns with them. If he’s not really getting any help to deal with his depression, sometimes others whom he trusts but is not close to in the same way can drive the message home that he needs to do something. He wouldn’t be the first depressed man to cut himself off from his partner and then deal with his issues only by trying to escape from them. I think it’s better to be honest about your feelings in a supportive way rather than hide them out of fear that saying anything about your needs would somehow hurt him or be more than he can handle. It’s not that you have an agenda, it’s that you love him and have been hurt by being cut off from him. You need support too – so many abandoned partners get depressed themselves and forget to look at their own needs.

      All my best to you —

      John

  15. pat says:

    i am at sea,

    my wife of 24 years has left he family home. she has left her home husband and three children one under 18. it has been coming i realis that now for a number of years and yes my wife is laying all the blame on me. she has used violence on me and each time ( thankfully only twice in the last year) i get more fearful. my wifes relationships with her children is clearly becoming strained and very much so with her own family, sisters. A lot of her actions and reactions and are irrational not just to me but to our broad range of family and friends. Yesterday she demanded her her half of hard saved money, substantial, for the childrens university, to spend on her new life. My wife was diagnosed wiht depression and anxiety by her doctor, she says that hedone thos only so that she could get sick benifit. she has had little real physical contact wiht ehr chldren since she left, texts yes and phone but not real contact. she has only moved 4 miles away to live with her alcoholic sister. i am watching a train crash in slow motion and there is nothing i can do.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Pat –

      It’s not surprising that she would dismiss the doctor’s diagnosis only as a requirement for getting a health benefit. It sounds like she has a lot of denial as well as rage in her, a train-wreck in the making for sure. I hope that you and your children and the rest of the family can be fully supportive of each other at a time like this. You should have the help and support you need to deal with the emotional damage. What’s happening to her is not your fault and sometimes a counselor can help sort out what’s going on and how to deal with it in a way that would be most supportive for you and your family.

      John

  16. Marie says:

    I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have found your website. A month ago my boyfriend of 7 years decided after a period of serious stress a couple of injuries and years of untreated depression that he wanted to be alone. Of course I fought against it because I knew he was depressed. Some of the stories I have read here are identical to what we have been experiencing. I knew that the man who was talking to me wanting to get away from me so desperately was not the man I knew. I wanted to be there for him at all costs, I wanted to do everything I can to make him realize that he was not alone that in me he had a partner who would stick by him through his recovery. Then the confusion set in and I am still struggling with it. I am confused about everything. Does he know he loves me deep down inside? Does he just not love me anymore? Should I just give up on him? etc… He has been talking to a friend about hi feelings and they all sound exactly like he has lost the ability to feel he doesn’t know where he is headed. At the moment I am just doing what ever comes into my heart. If I feel that I should send him an encouraging text I do and I don’t expect a response he has responded twice which makes me feel reassured that at least he is reading them. He has recently agreed to talk. I just want to know that he is okay. Of course I would love it if what resulted was a renewed attempt to work through it together but I wont bring it up unless he does. I just want to be there for him because I love him. I know that there are still rough times ahead for me and what ever happens I am so glad to have somewhere to go (here) for a bit of understanding. I too am in a position where friends and family just tell me to move on etc… but they don’t get it.

  17. C says:

    Dear John,

    I’m so thankful for finding your site. Its truly amazing, I felt so lost until I poured through your entire blog.

    Five days ago, my boyfriend of 8 months Jay, walked out on me quite irrationally without explanation and has cut me off completely in a very painful cold way. He suffers from Major Depression, which was initially brought on from losing his pituitary gland 4 years ago. We fell very fast for one another and I love him deeply. Jay, told me about his illnesses right away, and oddly enough, I accepted them. I knew he might get sick here and there, but I really had no idea what I was in for. He is on total hormone replacement therapy, in addition to meds to help him sleep, meds that help him stay asleep, anti-depressants, and other critical meds to keep him afloat. (On top of which he drinks alcohol)

    Recently, he fell very ill with Meningitis, I was there for him night and day caring for him; this was just a few short weeks ago. Simultaneously; Jay began to have trouble with his daughter and ex-wife which has ultimately ended up with his daughter pushing Jay away out of refusal to see him and declared hatred for him (his ex-wife has been funneling conversations she has had with J about visation to their daughter) he has been divorced for 8 years.

    Needless to say, with the stress of his job, his daughter; who makes him truly happy, and his latest bout of meningitis (its recurring for him because he is immune compromised); I’m 100% certain he is collapsing in on himself. Of course I didn’t know this until I found your blog (today), for the past 5 days I have been blaming myself and thinking it was something I did or just the way I am, that pushed him away. But everything makes perfect sense here. Not that I’m looking for an excuse, I still live in reality, I know I’m not perfect by any means, but based on what I’ve described so for, I think you might agree.

    Another thing I never realized is that intense anger is a part of depression. The way Jay displays his depression is through intense anger, blame, and irrational decisions. In April, Jay began to act irrationally quite often and would ensue verbal rages on me. One night he even called the police to try and have me removed from his apartment and through all of my things our the front door. This was after an argument of blaming me for not letting him be “himself” because I worry about him. I am always calm when interacting with Jay even when arguing, I just don’t have it in me to really fight with him plus he has enough of it for the both of us. His actions that night did not, DID NOT call for that type of anger and aggression and strange behavior, it was as if he snapped. This was in April, and it seems he’s been in a downward spiral since.

    Just as early as the very day he walked out on our relationship; he was telling me how much he loved me and wanted to marry me. Through-out our short, but greatly significant 8 months together, he said those things to me nearly every day, and met those words with actions….. Now this.

    He is a kind man, he has a lot of conviction, morals and strength. He would never normally behave this way. I am a single mother with a 3 year old, who he loves. I also love his daughter, and she has now texted me out of anger, thinking I am “done with her dad.” And I am completely heartbroken, shaken to my core, unable to function, eat, or take care of and pay proper attention to my little one. He tells me he has no desire to speak to me and that it is OVER- he put all of my things in a bag, all of the cards and love notes I ever gave him, everything, in a bag and left it with his door man for me to pick up. He refuses to speak to me and he threatened me for texting his daughter back.

    After reading your blog, I sent him a short email just saying that I loved him and I would be here for him if he needed me. I just cannot give up, I will not give up so easy. I hope he responds, I just don’t know how long I should wait. We were building a life together….

    Thank you again for your blog, in my darkest moments I will visit and read and make myself feel better as I was able to do today. I am also going into therapy to help me through this, but knowing that your blog is here, is a life savor. For the first time in 5 days, my head feels clear, the burden of blame has lifted and I can make sense of this.

    Best;
    C

  18. Anne-Marie says:

    Hi John, This site has helped me a lot while I was with my partner as well as after the breakup,I was the one who would have stuck close to him through thick and thin,but his dealing with depression was at the hands of alcoholism and this was far from what I considered to be a positive way of dealing with depression.Of course each time after he drank he would revert to grief and a disheartening feeling however he also manipulated me and I could see that there was little I could do with his confusion of I love you and I love you not.
    Soon after our brake up he decided to go try to pick up his life with his ex after four yrs of divorce,thinking this would help him.And once again after two months he contacted me ,he usually does that when he drinks saying that he doesn’t feel when he doesn’t drink but with a drink it allows him to feel and this is always when I come into the picture at least on his part!!!
    This was very disheartening to me and I was blown away questioning how would she feel.but I realize in his depression he is most certainly confused.I had to say enough was enough and exploit the whole thing to his ex,not to be malice but to unleash the destruction that was hurting him,myself and her.
    I was amazed how the deception and lies where so easy for him in his state.However John this didn’t sway my love for the great person he was when he wasn’t fighting his demons, as I see him as best described as “The man with two faces””.
    I want to say it has been the hardest for me as I had to say enough was enough…Only and only because he refused to make attempts of getting help.
    After many attempts of trying to reconcile and have him focus I realized this was my cross to bear and his fear in his depression caused a lot of pain through lies,using others, manipulating to get what he wanted and the darkness and loneliness that was around him also his aggression was becoming very voice stress and i was becoming fearful of what he could do .So I read ,write and heal day to day and hope you don’t mind if I share with those who may connect with me on what was what is and what can be.

    ” The Journey of ones Life’
    Loosing that Special Person in your life tears the heart beyond imaginable.Leaving you wondering why,hoping ,praying,filling your thoughts with memories,wishing sometimes you could shut off your mind, Paralyzing your every thought.
    Remembering the stages I endured and wondering when will it end. first the shock and denial,I stayed there a long time..trying to move on like nothing happened and so many mistakes I made ! Keep the smile on !!
    Then the Anger set in,resenting the outcome of the circumstances, gnawing away at my being.Causing utter distress.
    Then the Bargaining stage also known as what if I try this or try that.,allowing me to feel i didnt loose self control of my life.
    Then grief that tore me to shreds unable to rest ,sleep well or enjoy the little things I once loved.Everything became difficult mentally, physically emotionally and even my spiritual life was compromised.
    The only relief for a long time was feeling the need to talk about the situation and the Why me Lord factor that hunted my thoughts.
    Struggling with depression and feelings of If I could just hide my head under the blankets and make the world go away.and let me not forget the empty boxes of tissue that where stacked in the corner.the journals I compiled that in the moment relieved the sorrow the wrenched at my heart and soul.
    Then one day ,That day of Acceptance came. I slowly started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. This was a time of reflection, accepting ,The sun was shining bright again,The feeling of a warm bath was soothing and relaxing and the smile of a friendly face was welcomed,Music was again enjoyable,even the taste of food was enhanced.Realizing many and I mean many things that happen in life are beyond our control and complete understanding.So once again I smiled ,breathed in deeply,believed ,started to dream big again and walk forward with a new awareness of the Journey of Ones life.The learning from the experience, In all truth only makes us stronger.Today and each day, I live life to the fullest and I say I am thankful and blessed.To loose can be looked at as a gaining of knowledge.

    Written by Anne-Marie McGregor

    • AnneMarie says:

      As I continue to read these post on here I must say I am very happy that we can all come together in the hardest times to share. Above as I chose to share the experience of living with someone and or loving someone with depression is heart wrenching . it almost feels that his life of depression cause we to spiral into a depression of my own but again I truly believe there is a difference between the type of depression that consumes you … To a place of being the partner of the depressed person and having to stop focus and allow yourself the time to heal . Some as I did will hang on for a long time and yes to those who write if he came back tomorrow I would more then Likley embrasse the man I fell in love with but with caution and a very different outlook. Believe me if they push you away and want it that way and don’t contact you then please don’t invade there space. Do not meet up with them if they are using elligal drugs or alcohol because there once again are not in there right mind. Encourage them to get help and even offer to attend a workshop with them but only if they come to you first. Because though we all know they deal with depression ,we can not allow them to justify there actions in dragging you down. Depression just doesn’t go away like a common cold it must be treated and is a journey . I would hate to see anyone go through a hurt that could be avoided just because they are having problems to accept the rejection from the depressed person . Use caution and stay strong . Remember God sees the bigger picture.

  19. Mandy says:

    Hi, I am Mandy that posted back in dec 2011. Seems like a lifetime ago, I was distraught and desperate. It’s now 8 months since he left and I am in a much better place, having had time and counselling. As John said, living with a depressed person takes it toll and though it was something I was wanting it was not easy. When the blame came in my direction I had no idea how to handle it so I just existed. I now understand that it wasn’t my fault and that I cannot cure him with love and loyalty, though I long wished I could. All I really posted to say is that the only happiness within your control is yours. Find your way to happy, I haven’t given up on my husband, I will always be there for him just not at any cost to my well being now…. And my heart is happy and open to meeting someone that can care about me in the same way I care about them.
    I know people posting here will want to hear a different sort of happy ending, I’m not saying that can’t happen, just that it can still be happy if it doesn’t.

    • Mandy says:

      Forgot to say that I put up with all sorts of bad behaviour including another woman justifying all with his illness, what I should have done is put boundaries in place and set them firm, my life only started to improve once I’d done this. Eg. No you can’t say the things you do, get out. No I can’t be your friend whilst you are in a relationship with someone else.
      It was key in my road to happy and in improving his behaviour towards me. I t helped me take some control back so I was not another victim of his illness. Good luck to all.

      • John Folk-Williams says:

        Hi Mandy –

        I’m so glad to hear that things have been going well for you. You’re right – happy endings don’t always involve staying together. Taking care of your health and well-being has to be a top priority.

        John

        • Mandy says:

          Thanks John x

          • spidermouse says:

            Hi Mandy, I totally agree with what you had to say and really hope that I get there eventually. My husband of 14 years asked for a divorce 2 months ago. The “bizarre symptoms” he was exhibiting, started about 5 months prior, but I had NO idea where it was headed. He has backtracked since then, from divorce to trial separation.

            A couple months prior to asking for divorce and a few weeks after , he was a TOTAL Assh*** and blaming me for everything. He started on meds 4 days prior to asking for the divorce, so has “stabilized” since then. He has also been in therapy very regularly.

            He lived with me for 6 weeks after dropping his bomb, saying he wanted to move out but couldn’t afford to (lie.). I finally had to kick him out as he had convinced himself that we could just lie together as roommates!!! yeah, after 14 years of being totally in love.

            He moved out 2 weeks ago, and it’s been difficult. He calls every other day, we hang out some (no sex though!!) and we are maintaining the closeness of the best friendship we had, as best we can under the circumstances.

            I am starting to find a balance between being there for him and giving him his space plus doing things for myself to move on each day. I am in therapy, do a support group, have a wonderful set of girlfriends and work out a lot. It’s a hard balance. I want him in my life , in some respect, I’m definitely not ready to go no contact. It’ just hard because every time he calls, he tells me he loves me and when he sees me, we hug and sometimes kiss. There’s just an intimacy that we have!!

            I think i place too much pressure on myself about how to handle this. You have to do this and can’t do that but, what I realize is, I just need to be for now. Live each day out and decide what’s best for me as I go along.

            Any suggestions or advice you have?

  20. Dee says:

    Hi John, Just wanted to say thank you for your information on this site it has helped a great deal. My partner before his 44th birthday and after 16 years of being together just said he had to let me go and that he was holding me back. He does healing and is very good, he also has a full time job with so much that has gone on for him over the last few months, I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and had another scare in July 2011. Work problems and pressure were all building up about five months prior to this happening. Five days before he left the home he was doing healing, before he went he was as right as rain, he came back and said that he had a strange sensation while healing and that it was very intense, that night he was snappy and withdrawn and the days that followed he was the same. He woke from an afternoon sleep as he starts early and then he came out with, ‘I have to let you go, I’ve been holding you back’. I told him to just stay calm and relax and that he probably awakened emotions from the chakras and we could deal with it, within two days he was gone, didn’t come back to the home to live and that was 8 weeks ago. He text me two weeks after walking out that he had met a girl and is moving in with her, I asked him why he would text me that and not come and tell me and how could he meet someone so quickly and he said he saw me as a sister and that he wanted to be honest and she felt right. He has spoken to someone after I suggested he may have depression and was told that, he was suffering from depression by the counsellor. He has been back home for visits to see the cats and me but I don’t know why, if he is with someone else, it all hurts so much and I’m trying not to be demanding as I was in the beginning before I realised it might be depression. I have offered him healing and some exercises that help with depression and said that if he could keep them up and go to counselling it might help. He is polite and is helping financially, he says he want to come home but something is holding him back. I am trying to be a friend to the man I love but know that he is sharing times with another woman and when he comes over it kills me to know that he is walking out the door after and I don’t know when or if he will be back. I am trying to detach from my emotions while I’m communicating with him but feel like I’m a stranger to him and he has no idea how hurt I am feeling because he is in this depression and I feel very much alone. I am trying so hard to get on with my life and am seeing a counsellor but I really am finding no hope in anything and just feel down most of the time. He was my best friend as we were so close. Friends and family demand answers and keep going on about what they would do and what they wouldn’t put up with and I’m trying to follow my gut feelings but they are all getting on my nerves.
    I cannot imagine what its like for other partners that have children and my heart goes out to all the people in this position and for the sufferers, this is not spoken about openly enough.
    Thank you

  21. Cecily says:

    Hi, I am new to this site and am really glad I found it. A lot of what’s just happened in my life is making sense now.

    My husband of 10 years and wonderful father to our two children suddenly informed me three weeks ago that he doesn’t love me anymore and needs to move out. I was shocked and devastated. He has been to the doctor and agreed to counseling. He has been diagnosed with mild depression. Luckily he is admitting that he has depression and is working through a book that his GP gave him. He has been emotionally distant on an off for three years and I now think it has been depression all along. He still phones me every day and we talk – but only discuss emotional stuff if he feels like it. He is house-sitting for a week now and plans to rent a house at the beginning of June. He says he needs to find himself and needs alone time. Is there any way I can convince him to stay? I am trying to be supportive but this whole situation is so shocking to me. Over the past three weeks he has said he will be willing to try to work on our relationship but first he needs time to “find himself”. When I mention hope of him coming back to us he says not to get my hopes up. I can’t just give up on us. What should I do?

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Cecily –

      I’m sorry that you’re having to go through this. I think a lot of men mistake the lack of feeling that comes with depression for a lack of love. It’s easy to feel you’ve fallen out of love or that your spouse isn’t giving you what you need when the ability to feel anything is so diminished. The threshold for feeling excitement gets higher, and some men look for it in drugs or affairs. I’ve become skeptical that there is such a thing as “mild” depression. The symptoms may not be so acute in the moment, but they are chronic. Not feeling much all the time is just as disabling, especially in a relationship or at work, as the total collapse that accompanies a severe episode. In a way, it’s worse because it usually happens that you mistake the “mild” symptoms as the reality of your life rather than conditions that can be changed with treatment. It’s great that your husband is aware of depression and trying to do something about it. It’s natural that he would tell you not to get your hopes up because he’s not going to feel hopeful so long as the depression continues. I think you can support him by learning as much as possible about the type of depression that he has. That knowledge can help you sort through his behavior to you and your children. It would be good if he were open to couples therapy, provided you could find a counselor who understands the specific impacts that depression can bring into a relationship. Having your own support is also important because partners in your position easily get drawn into depression as well.

      I hope you can both find a way to get through this together.

      John

  22. Clare says:

    Hi – I’m new to forums and never really needed to be here before.

    I’m finding everything in my world a little hard to cope with at the moment. My partner of nearly 7 years turned around out of the blue one night, told me he needed to end our relationship and leave. As you can imagine I was completely shocked! He told me the reason was he just didn’t feel the same way about me anymore and had to go. Now, I thought things were very positive this year and I was looking forward to our future together – plans to move home, make a cosy life for each other etc, but within weeks I was hit with this bombshell. We had a very difficult year last year, not between ourselves, but with families, jobs etc. I could see he was stressed at times and tried to lift the load a bit, unfortunately looking back, this just didn’t work. We started to have niggly little fights by the end of the year, but nothing which would tear us a part. I thought our love for each others was so strong, we’d last forever! We did really make a great team and always had a brilliant time together. He did start to twist things, or should I say misunderstand things I would say to him which would end up in an argument and it would make me think… what did I just say?! Anyway, like I say, I had a lot of hope for us this year and I was convinced he was the same.
    I never thought he would be the type of person to just get up and go without a fight to save us, after all, I had no idea we were heading this way! I told him we need to work together at a relationship and you can’t just get up and leave like this. He said he would give things a chance, yet less than 24 hours (after a day at work) he packed his bags and left. Told me I was his best friend, but this is wrong in a relationship, told me he loved me, but isn’t in love with me now, said this was killing him as I’m a wonderful person and he cares so much for me and always will. None of this makes sense to me as he’s my best friend, I love him but never thought about the whole in love thing for a while as you just become comfortable with each other and happy (I am in love with him by the way), and I care for him deeply too… so where is the problem I thought?!
    I could not understand one bit, a few close family members thought this was a sign of depression, and as I looked back over the latter months I started to see the signs as well. Less than a week later, he had signed a contract on a rented flat. One moment he was telling me he needs space and the next he can’t see us having a future. Everything has been so confusing for me, very mixed emotions and signs. He’s had no real contact with me, yet I had tried to maintain some form of contact as I do want him back and also terrified he is making a massive mistake! If you mention depression or stress to him, he blows his lid. Still to this day he says he is fine and we now need to move on in our separate lives.
    Unfortunately, this has now taken it’s toll with me and I am now suffering from stress and depression due to his loss. I did see my GP and asked if I could be referred to a therpist, the only thing in my eyes which would solve my problems, would be if he gave me a chance or even told me he loves me… I know everyone in my boat feels this way, but I am suffering badly.
    I just don’t know what to do for the best, he is still my partner to me, yet we are single as he’s left the relationship. Please help! A little advice our words from folk who have been through all this would be a massive help to me. I want to help him, yet I know I need to help myself too
    Many Thanks! Clare x

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Clare –

      Over the last several years, I’ve heard so many stories like yours, yet each one is uniquely painful and hard to understand. I’m so sorry this has happened, but it is a familiar pattern for depressed men. Just get up and leave, no explanation, no apparent emotional struggle, just gone. I can’t pretend to know what your partner is going through – even he may not know. That’s one of the problems with depression. You can become disconnected from your own feelings in a way that you hardly notice. You don’t necessarily feel bad, you just don’t feel much at all. You start to think that it must be the relationship that is failing since you it doesn’t seem emotionally satisfying. But it’s not just the relationship – it’s everything, except for short-term highs or “good times” with casual friends. I’m glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself. That is the best and perhaps the only thing you can do. It’s horribly frustrating. I can only hope that he will try to get help – that is the best route for seeing if the relationship can be saved. My best to you —

      John

  23. Mia says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading this blog a lot lately and it helped me to understand my partners condition!
    First of all I’d like to say that I broke up with him about a month ago! I didn’t realize his depression and I thought he didn’t love me anymore so I bursted and shouted at him and told him I can’t deal with his behaviour anymore. But after few days I talked to him ad he was very angry and said that he is aware of everything but can’t deal with our relationship right now and that we need to break up! I was devastated because I still didn’t understand what was going on with him so I decided not to contact him at all because I was very hurt. That night he sent me a message saying that he didn’t stop loving me and that this break up is not forever and we just need to be some time apart. He told me that he can’t deal with me right now and that he still wants to be friends.
    I didn’t hear from him since then(and it’s been a month now) and I didn’t try to contact him either.
    Now i realize what happened to him and I want to hope that one day we’ll be together again.I want to call him and say to him that I’ll support him no mather what but I’m afraid of how is he going to react! I really don’t know how to approach this and I’m afraid I don’t push him even more if that is even possible.
    We had a really great relationship and some even say we were soulmates,but at one moment everything changed and that wasn’t my boyfriend anymore.I still hope that he will accept treatment and be with me after some time.
    I would just want him to know that I’m not angry at him and that my reaction was wrong and that I’ll do anything to help him!
    Thank you very much!

    • Susan says:

      Hi Mia – Did you get any response to this? My story is similar and just wondering if you got any feedback or had any updates.

      Thanks!

  24. biglove says:

    I’ve been scouring every line on every site for answers, there really aren’t any, however, thank you John for the insight from your personal experience, I feel much better armed to deal with my partner, myself and the depression which is traumatising both of us.
    I could write reams of our history and relationship (and I’ve done so in a personal journal – adding snippets as the cloud lifts and I recall events which seemed insignificant but were percursors that built into my partners depressed state).
    We have been together 3 years (mid-forties, both of us); both single with wonderful children (late teens & 1 preschooler); reasonable ex-partners. We lived on opposite sides of the world. Our life experiences and similarities were uncanny, we understood each other immediately, although his English was limited and my French even worse – but we worked on this and impressed ourselves with our bi-lingual abilities.
    In a gradual build up of events: a bad financial investment (a lot of $$); workaholic tendencies returned; his father suffers depression and there was a major row; his 4 year old had to come and live with us when her mother suffered a stroke; my father became terminally ill and I had to leave to tend him (he passed away 2 weeks later), this and so many bits and pieces that make up life’s trials and tribulations.
    We use to speak daily via skype and my partner always showed his love and how much he missed me. One day he mentioned that he had found my ring (a symbol of our commitment) and figured I had left him, thus for the first time hadn’t called me over a weekend. I explained the ring was left behind because the stone had come lose and I had hoped he would have it repaired. We’d had some patchy times before my departure – you can imagine my thoughts were with my dad and my son and brother dealing with him and then having a 4 year old in our midsts who was missing her mother and didn’t understand why she couldn’t go to her; my partner working 14 hour days. Anyway all said and done, he still felt I had left him, we decided to meet up (halfway) for a week break and talk things through, well I talked he listened but said he felt exactly as I did and wanted the same relationship and life together. His parting word were “I love you very much, you must know this”.
    A few weeks later, there was another weekend where he did not communicate with me, when he finally did, he said that he knew that I was returning soon and didn’t think it would be a good idea at this stage, I obviously asked why. He said there was too much for him to do right now (work wise) for him to worry about me being at home alone. I asked whether he loved me and he said “I respect you very much, right now I don’t know how I feel”, he was crying and upset as he spoke this and in the same breathe said “the best time of his life was with me”.
    My mind first stopped, then it went into over-drive.
    I’ve gone crazy on the internet looking for information – at times this has been great help, because I can see so many signs of him being depressed, but at other times I’ve questioned whether this is what I would like it to be (sad in a way, that I would prefer my partner to be depressed rather than not want me). We find ourselves in a debilitating situation because he won’t seek medical assistance and I don’t want this to be our only topic of communication. I’m starting therapy as I can see the effects this and prior events is having on my health.
    I hurt tremendously, but this site has allowed me to have perspective in an intelligent forum, again thank you.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, biglove –

      I’m glad to hear you have a therapist’s help after all those difficult situations one after another, your partner’s depression and the great distance as well. It’s unfortunate that your partner won’t seek treatment. Even though episodes come and go on their own, they can last months, even years, long enough to drive away those closest to you. If you don’t see depression as an illness, then you are likely to accept all the negativity that goes with it as the reality of your life. I hope he can find his way back and that the two of you can maintain the relationship.

      John

  25. Mandy says:

    Hi John

    Thank you so much for your kind and honest response. I too have thought he has a bipolar disorder but feel like until the prozac is taken out of the equasion, no one will know. He is so resolute that he is right that any changes in his meds are up to the GP. She is lovely but does not seem to have a great understanding of depression. Even in moments of crisis he has only seen a psychiatrist twice – for a total of less than 20 mins. He was ‘prescribed’ CBT and this just seems to have fueled his resolve that he is right. There is a computer programme for CBT that should not be given to severe cases, but it was given to my husband.
    His parents will not help. His Father doesnt want to alienate him, so in the future when he inevitably drops he has somewhere to go, his mother just thinks he is happy now as he is quite literally happy…. was even whistling as he packed to leave me and our child. They do not spend a great deal of time with him so I dont think they see the reality of the situation, or his lies. That said they have been present when he has treated his wife and child badly.
    Thanks for pointing out the blaming and irritability are symptoms not misreads – its really hard to understand this illness and separate the reality from the chaff.

    My best to you too, Mandy

  26. Mandy says:

    Hi John

    Many thanks for taking the time to write your blog – its amazing!

    My husband of 7 years (together for 11) has severe depression and has decided I am completely to blame for it. He has spent the last two years being irritable with me and our child and I keep finding out the awful things he has done during the time (eg. telling another woman he was in love with her whilst treating me terribly), and more recently spending ours and our childs personal savings on I don’t know what. He moved out 2 months ago.
    His irritation got progressively worse with each increase of prozac…. with hindsight I can see that but at the time it was really difficult as he was sabotaging his recovery with stopping taking his meds, taking them erratically and drinking. Now he has moved out he has gone into ‘SuperDad’ mode and suddenly wants to spend time with his son but this seems to be to prove me wrong about his depression being the cause of our relationship break up.
    I want our son to have a great relationship with his Dad and have encouraged this since day 1, but worry so much about the impact of his illness on him and just dont know what to do about promoting the relationship whilst still protecting my son.
    In terms of me, I am starting to get the ‘work on yourself’ thing, I am starting to go out, do counselling and trying to acknowledge that there is nothing more I can do…. but I still have this feeling that the man I love is in there somewhere and its so hard to not be able to say anything that will put a chink in his resolve that I am a bitch that has caused his misery.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Mandy –

      I’m glad you’re at the point of “starting to get” the need to take care of yourself, see friends, get counseling and accept (the hardest one) that you can’t do any more. Blaming a partner for depression is so common and so horrifically wrong and unfair. It’s hard not to want to do more to prove that you’re not the problem. The blaming and irritability are symptoms, as you know, not mistakes based on a misreading of a situation. It really is up to him to deal with his condition, and unfortunately it sounds like he isn’t doing that. I must say that your description makes me think of a bipolar condition rather than a depressive disorder – but it’s hard even for psychiatrist’s to draw those lines and I’m no expert or therapist. I think you’re right that his condition has changed him into a different person. Hopefully that will be temporary, but these things tend to recur. If you should get back together, you might well be facing a life of on-again off-again closeness. I’m afraid that’s what happened in my marriage, and it took a big toll on my wife.

      So keep on with taking care of yourself.

      My best to you —
      John

  27. Carla says:

    What do i do if my partner left me and has moved on so quickly, but we have agreed to still be friends and talk because of our daughter?

    • Hi, Carla –

      I’m not sure what you’d like or feel the need to do in this situation. I realize there is the shock of suddenly losing him. Is your agreeing to the friend relationship genuine on your part, or did you feel that was the best you could do to stay in touch? Maybe you could add some more to the story so it’s clearer what’s happening.

      Thanks for commenting.

      John

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